Thank you to everyone who joined us for our inaugural outing of The 13 Days for Weird Flash (13WDF) yesterday and shared Melanie Crew's “Nocturnal Shift” with your friends (and fiends). We’re working hard to get the word out about our talented WFQ authors and our upcoming Weird Fiction Quarterly, Volume 1, which will be a complete collection of our first four paperback installments (Winter ‘22, Spring ‘23, Summer ‘23, and Halloween & Fall ‘23). We’re planning on getting our proofs to the printers at Amazon next week, and having the book available a few days after that (if you crave more than thirteen days of 500-word weird flash fiction). The hardcover will include over 150 short stories from the past year, so stay tuned!
Today's tale is “Whiteout” by Robert J. (“Bob”) Sodaro and appeared in our very first Winter ‘22 edition. Bob is American-born writer who is perhaps best known as one of the longest-running journalists in the field of comics. During the ‘80s and ‘90s he not only wrote for most of the comic magazines published, but he also contributed marketing and PR material for many of the major comicbook publishers as well. These days he contributes comics, prose, and designs to several independent publishers, and he also produces books for other authors as well. His two signature series: Wülf Girlz (about a pair of pre-pubescent girls — who are werewülves that hunt pedophiles), and Agent Unknown (about a top secret international intelligence organization) — are both slated to appear under the Dark Fire Press banner in 2024.
Stick around after the story to learn more about Bob and what else he’s been working on.
By Robert J. Sodaro
It began as it always began, with the ground shaking most violently. The level plane of the very ground itself, twisted and turned, almost as if the entirety of Mother Earth was flipping itself upside down in a most ferocious upheaval of all that was natural. Gregor could barely hang onto the reins of his sled. His horses however, somehow managed to remain straight and true, as if they were fastened to the ground in spite of the fact that the entirety of the world was fully topsy-turvy. Yet, in spite of the aggressively kinetic upheavals of the ground, Gregor managed to hold onto the sleigh, and the horses continued to remain glued to the ground.
Then as suddenly as the massive earthquake began, it abruptly ceased, but — as usual — that wasn’t nearly the end of it. The ground, once stable, gave way to a blinding snowstorm. The white flakes of the storm all but completely obliterated Gregor’s line of sight in all directions. Still, in spite of the blinding flurry of whiteness, Gregor’s horses maintained their passage, as always, straight and true, never faltering in their unwavering mission to continue on their journey, as if they were destined to continue their journey by fate itself.
After a few blinding moments of the raging storm, the blizzard subsided, only to be replaced by an eerie calm. Gregor called out to the stallions in a soothing voice, in an attempt to calm his steeds down. Unfortunately, almost as soon as the last white flake hit the ground, a second earthquake hit, this one exponentially more powerful than the first (if that could even be believed).
Once more the ground shook with the fury of the gods. Still, even though the ground rumbled this way and that, Gregor, his sled, and the horses pulling it, somehow managed to maintain their footing on the formerly level plain of the Earth. The ferocious shaking continued for a full minute, stopping once again in the middle of a raging blizzard that all but completely blinded Gregor. The horses, to their credit, kept to the path, as well as their mission of staying on the path and pulling Gregor’s sleigh, much to Gregor’s surprise and delight.
And again, after a time, the blizzard itself ended, only to have the earthquakes begin anew, followed once again by a blinding snowstorm, and again by a quake, and then by a new storm. The sequence continued over and over again, and yet Gregor, the sleigh, and the horses remained always on track.
“Molly, Molly,” an adult voice called from the door. “It’s time to go to sleep.”
The young girl stopped, pouted, and glanced at her father with a cherubic look on her face. “But Daddy…”
Molly’s father smiled “You can play with your toy tomorrow. It is time to go to sleep.”
Giggling, Molly relented, putting the snow globe in her hands on the nightstand next to her bed. Snuggling under the covers, she was soon fast asleep.
Q&A with Robert J. Sodaro
WFQ: Why do you write weird fiction and when did you start?
RJS: I was introduced to the title by my friend Roger Keel (who’s also a contributor), and I love the concept of creating an entire story in just 500 words. I have been writing for it since the first issue.
WFQ: Who are the literary inspirations for your WFQ contributions?
RJS: Many of the early comics I read were short, eight-page horror stories with twist “O. Henry”-style endings. I’m certain I’m drawing my inspiration from those stories.
WFQ: What do you like most about the 500-word format we use? What do you find most challenging with it?
RJS: My first professional writing job was as a copywriter for my local radio station, and on some level penning 500-word flash fiction is me, returning to my roots.
WFQ: If you were made editor for an issue, which theme would you choose to guide a whole WFQ installment?
RJS: Since I’m fully immersed in the world of superheroes (having been reading them since ’61, and working professionally in the field since ’81), I’d probably choose to oversee a superhero flash fiction issue.
WFQ: Where else can we read more of your work? Where can we find out more about you?
RJS: I have a blog at freelanceink.blogspot.com, I post articles and reviews at HubPages, and have my online portfolio at Freelance Ink. I’m currently in the process of building a merchandising website where I can sell books and comics I’ve written.
My comic stories can be found in InDELLible Comics, Red Anvil Comics, United Comics, Pronto Comics, my own Funnybook City line, and as I mentioned earlier, Dark Fire Press. Most of these books are available on Amazon, the Dark Fire books will be also be available in Barnes & Noble stores.
Thanks again to Bob for his stirring tale introducing all of you to our inaugural Winter ‘22 edition! If you’re discovering us via the web, please take a moment to subscribe to our (normally) low-volume mailing list to be sure that you don’t miss tomorrow’s tale.
We’ll see you tomorrow (that is unless a very unfortunate accident befalls this snowglobe we’re all sharing)!